In its ongoing mission to develop and disseminate unbiased, peer-reviewed research for the professional cleaning and disaster restoration industries, the Cleaning Industry Research Institute (CIRI) announces the addition of Karen Dannemiller, Ph.D. to its Science Advisory Council (SAC). Dr. Dannemiller leads the Indoor Environmental Quality research group at The Ohio State University where she studies microbes and chemicals in the indoor environment and their impact on human health.

“The pandemic has put a spotlight on the connection between cleaning and public health,” said John Downey, CIRI Executive Director. “People want assurance that the buildings they occupy are cleaned in a way that doesn’t threaten their wellbeing. The addition of Dr. Dannemiller to CIRI’s SAC will enhance the quality of research and depth of the resources we can provide our members and industry stakeholders.”

Dr. Dannemiller’s unique background combines training in both engineering and public health to tackle difficult questions, particularly with regards to exposures in the built environment. She graduated with honors in Chemical and Biochemical Engineering from Brown University and earned her Ph.D. at Yale University in Chemical and Environmental Engineering. 

“We spend 90 percent of our time indoors where we are exposed to a diverse mixture of chemicals and microorganisms,” said Dr. Dannemiller. “My work focuses on better understanding these exposures, their sources and their impact on human health. I look forward to working with CIRI to connect research and practice in indoor environmental quality."

Dr. Dannemiller was first introduced to John Downey and CIRI during a 2019 interdisciplinary conference she organized titled “Implications of Carpet on Indoor Chemistry and Microbiology” where Downey also presented. Key findings from the workshop were published in Building and Environment, an open-access journal, in a paper titled “Ten Questions Concerning Implications of Carpet on Indoor Chemistry and Microbiology.” Recently, she and three colleagues also published a paper from the workshop in CIRI’s peer-review journal, Cleaning Science Quarterly. 

Dr. Dannemiller has a joint appointment between Civil, Environmental and Geodetic Engineering, and Environmental Health Sciences, with a courtesy appointment in Microbiology, Dr. Dannemiller is also a core faculty member in the Sustainability Institute at The Ohio State University. She was the recipient of the Denman Distinguished Research Mentor Award in 2017, the IMR Early Career Innovator of the Year in 2019, and the NSF CAREER award in 2020.

“CIRI has always relied upon a foundation of sound science and unbiased research,” said Dr. Steven Spivak, chair of CIRI’s SAC. “Dr. Dannemiller’s training, research and publishing around indoor environmental health and engineering is the perfect complement to the existing resources and technical expertise of our council.” 

For more information about CIRI, please visit